MATTHEWS, N.C. – When the ball is in the air, cornerback Terry Shankle zones in and feels he has just as much right to it as the receiver. More often than not during his junior season, the cornerback came away with the pick.
He led the state of North Carolina with 15 interceptions. That's not a misprint, that's 15 interceptions, with four of them returned for a touchdown. Clearly ball skills are at the top of the coveted corner's list of attributes.
"A lot of teams wouldn't even throw my way half way through the year," Shankle said Saturday afternoon at Matthews (N.C.) Butler High School as part of the Five-Star Academy. "My coach moved me around and I was able to get some interceptions at those spots, too."
The Northwood (N.C.) South Stanly product is regarded as one of the best at his position in the Tar Heel State for 2009.
"College coaches have been telling me that I have good ball skills, good speed and I'm not a small corner," the 5-foot-10, 167-pounder indicated. "I'm kind of big and can jump."
Shankle indeed looks bigger than his measured size and plays bigger on the field. While everyone covets 6-foot-0 cornerbacks, they want playmakers more than anything and that's what Shankle brings to the table.
"When the ball is in the air, I feel it belongs to me," he said. "That's on offense but especially on defense as well."
Shankle vertically leaps 39 inches, runs a 4.5-second 40-yard dash, has a 4.3-second pro shuttle time, bench presses 245 pounds, hang cleans 235 pounds and squats 410 pounds. The leaping ability and speed are no surprise for a highly-recruited cornerback but the strength numbers attest to his hard work and willingness to be physical.
"I'm not afraid to mix it up, I think I'm good in run support and I like to hit," he said. "Cornerback isn't all about just coverage and speed. It's about reading the play and coming up in run support as well. I like tackling as much as anything."
Shankle registered 78 tackles to his state-best interception total last fall. On the offensive side, the athletic playmaker caught 47 passes for 975 yards and 12 touchdowns, while rushing for 257 yards and two scores. While impressive on offense, most schools want him as a shut-down cornerback.
Alabama, North Carolina, NC State, South Carolina and Tennessee have all offered with others expected to jump in soon.